Amateur Jazz enthusiast and Bwog daily editor Nikita Nambiar squished herself onto a little sofa in ADP house two Thursdays ago to Listen to a Jazz set by Jon Block Quintet. The group performed as part of a bi-weekly Jazz night series organized by Coffeehaus Jam Club.

It’s Thursday night, red lights glow strong, yet barely illuminating the curves of the piano. The smell of smoke saturated the walls and tapestries–a foreign sense of comfort. 

Jazz night at ADP house is a bi-weekly jazz ensemble performance organized by Coffeehaus Jam Club. The performances make use of the larger artistic student body at Barnumbia. This week, the artists in question were the Jon Block Quintet.

I’m no jazz critic, but I am a SERIOUS enjoyer of jazz … all the jazzes. From bossa nova to jazz funk, I’ve listened to the lot; I know what good jazz sounds like. Good jazz is the bubbly warm froth on the surface of a cappuccino and the decadence of a good slice of cake (I may have been hungry when I wrote this). Good Jazz is a warm hug, and I received one of the warmest hugs listening to Jon Block Quintet’s set at ADP. 

The event took place on the second floor of the frat building. Doors opened at 9pm and within an hour I was cornered onto a little sofa near the front of the room. I had a comfy spot, right in front of the band and as if on cue, the band started playing. Things started off slow–they were finding their groove and so was the audience. People were shuffling around in their little groups, all eyeing a spot in the front. The music was not center stage.

And it wouldn’t be. 

I think that was partly the goal of the night. It was a space with gorgeous music playing and people mingling. Mid-conversation you would be interrupted by an epic sax solo, but then the conversation would continue. The various jazz pieces set the pace for the memories that were being made that Thursday evening : a group of freshmen’s first “frat party” (this night was anything but!) , two friends reconnecting after summer break, and my first time at ADP! 

The entire time I was there, humming along with the musicians, shimmying to the eclectic melodies, I found myself wondering how this idea came to be. What was the history of this bi-weekly jazz exhibition?! I did some sleuthing and met with Oscar Lloyd (CC ’25), one of the founders of Coffeehaus Jam, who shared the story of its birth with me. 

Started in the fall of 2022, Coffeehaus Jam Club was founded on the basis of promoting inclusivity and introducing the rich history of jazz to a wider audience and performer base. Jazz in New York started as a medium to elevate the voices of the unheard. The 1920s marked the era of the Harlem Renaissance, a cultural movement that gave rise to a vibrant jazz scene in the neighborhood of Harlem. The Cotton Club, the Savoy Ballroom, and the Apollo Theater became renowned venues where jazz musicians and bands performed, including Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Count Basie.

Today, New York City remains a vibrant center for jazz music. Venues like the Blue Note, Smalls Jazz Club, and Jazz at Lincoln Center continue to host performances by both established and emerging jazz artists. The city attracts jazz musicians and enthusiasts from all over the world and now, so does ADP.

Coffeehaus thrives on the principle of jam sessions. Students with any skill level or musical proclivity can show up on the day of and perform their heart out. This is the essence of what jazz performance was meant to be. For individual artists who are interested in getting involved with jazz night, Oscar suggests just bringing your instrument along when doors open and making your way over to the performance space. For larger groups and bands, there is a sign-up sheet linked here. More information about the jam sessions can also be found on their instagram @coffeehausjam.

The performances that Thursday were dynamic and punchy. The energy in the building was immaculate. Coffeehaus led a unique and intimate music experience that felt raw and unfiltered. They captured the musicians’ emotions and creativity while also cultivating an environment where there were no expectations placed on the audience. Everyone was simply there to have a good time.

By the time I had decided to leave it was late. Walking back to my dorm in the cold, I felt the aura of jazz musicality warp around my soul and warm me up from the inside. I was so happy. Coffeehaus Jam Club enabled me to be part of a special, unfiltered musical moment. If you are someone who likes music in general, I highly recommend popping in for one of their jazz nights every other Thursday at 8:00 pm!

Event images via @fromfrancescohen on instagram